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Around five years ago, we moved into the little neglected foreclosure home. This has been my favorite place I have ever lived in my life. Though, that is mainly because of the amazing cul de sac that we live on and the best neighbors we could ever ask for. Also the house we live in has been so good to suit our needs – 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, open concept, decent sized backyard, and a front porch.
“What’s not to love?” you may ask.
The carpet. The stanky, stanky carpet.
(And the paint choices & the flooring – but I digress.)
Ok, so the carpet was cleaned before we moved in. But there’s not much that can help overcome a 15+ year old carpet especially since the previous owners we believe had pets and then we had a two different pets at one time that thought our house was a giant toilet. EEW!
So one week while my husband was out of town, I decided I had enough and decided to tear out the carpet off the stairs. It smelled so bad. I had already removed the puke worthy carpet from the upstairs bedroom – remember this beach themed bedroom makeover? I got a wild hair and started ripping it off the stairs. Now, this might not be the best idea because it’s always good to plan ahead.
Read below about steps to makeover stairs on a budget –
Check what you have currently verses what you want
If you can, pull up some of the carpet to see what type of subflooring was used to build the stairs. If you are looking for a wood look, like I was, then you might luck out and have treads that are made of wood planks. If you’re not as lucky, you might have stair treads made of MDF(medium density fiberboard). If you do not want to add treads and don’t want to reinstall carpet, paint is the best option for MDF treads. Unfortunately, this look might not last long for high traffic stairs.
Make a plan
Make a plan by deciding these things ahead of time. First things first is figuring out what you will need to makeover your stairs. You might have a certain budget to work within. Maybe you have a certain look you are going for. You might need to preorder or purchase materials so be sure to make a list with all of the proper dimensions and quantities. You’ll need tools to help make this happen and depending on how DIY you are going with the project will determine how many tools you’ll need.
Prepare the stairs
For my stairs makeover, that meant first gathering my tools – heavy plyers, a carpet cutter, a flat edged shovel, needle nosed plyers, sandpaper, handheld electric sander, a broom and dust pan, and a mask. First, I ripped out all the carpet, gagged a bunch from how dirty it was, ripped out the carpet pad, removed the staples with the needle nosed plyer, removed the tack strips with the shovel(which was a challenge being in the narrow space). Be sure to remove any leftover staples or tacks or nails. Then swept the stairs. There was so much dirt even before sanding anything.
Sand the Stairs
Next, I sanded the stairs. This was important because the wood was pretty rough especially where the stairs turned 90 degrees as that was made of plywood instead of just the pine boards. It was also important because when they built the house the carpet was put in after the house was painted. There was a bunch of paint on the edges of the treads which was somewhat sanded off until I got so tired of it and gave up. It actually turned out well and looks a bit rustic because of this.
After the full day of sanding, I swept again. Then I mopped the steps and cleaned up all the carpet staples and tack strips.
Finish the stairs
If you’re having someone to help with the work, you are a lucky lady! Let them finish up the work. Alas, I am a frugal person and save money whenever possible. My stairs makeover was all done by me. So adding the finishing touches to the stairs was all up to this gal. Luckily, I didn’t need to add new treads and wasn’t putting in carpet. I went the easiest route which was to stain the stairs to match our fireplace surround. First I painted and cleaned up the riser going into the upstairs room.
Luckily, my husband was planning a trip to my in-laws and took the kids with him so I could stay behind and get the stairs done in a weekend. And I didn’t have to worry about little feet getting on the wet stairs while staining them. Remember to get anything from upstairs that you will need for at least 12 hours before you start staining and also begin staining at the top of the stairs. I also used painters tape on the walls at the edges so the stain didn’t mess up anything that way.
Wait for it to dry & enjoy!
Don’t walk on the stairs for 24 hours and then only walk on them with socks (be careful!) until 72 hours after staining. For more durability, use polyurethane to seal the stairs. I opted not to do this because my fireplace was not polyurethane and I used the same type of stain for the stairs so it would be more cohesive.
I’m so happy with how these turned out especially with a budget of only one quart of Minwax jacobean stain and some sandpaper. Our house actually smells much better every time I walk in it. About two dust pans at least of dirt, dust, and grim has been removed from our home. I’m just so happy all around! If you’re working to makeover stairs on a budget, let me know in the comments below!
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